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Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DC EVENT ROUNDUP....On Sunday there's going to be a massive rally on the Mall in Washington DC to urge the United States to take action against the genocide in Darfur. Information here. Starting time is 2 pm.

On a much smaller scale, Joanne Jacobs, author of Our School, is hosting a "bookraiser" at WEDJ, a DC performing arts charter school, on May 11. Starting time is 5:30 pm. Information here. Bring a book for the school library!

Kevin Drum 1:47 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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urge the United States to take action against the genocide in Darfur

Darfur has oil?


Posted by: jayarbee on April 29, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

We'll be happy to intervene, as soon as we get seventeen UN resolutions, participation from NATO, international consensus, and the UN has sent enough genocide inspectors to satisfy liberal demands.

LOL. Seriously, you crack me up. If the US intervenes, it's wrong. If the US doesn't intervene, we're wrong for not doing anything. Can y'all make up your mind and let the non-moonbats know what your consensus is? Until then, shut up. The grown-ups are trying to continue Iraq's ascent to a liberal democracy..... no thanks to your kind.

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I live too close to DC. I hadn't even heard about the rally tomorrow.

Posted by: pol on April 29, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

No fundraisers scheduled to replenish the GOP Legal Defense Fund?

The $6 million Republicans recently spent defending their lackeys who were convicted in the New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme must have depleted at least some of their cash on hand. There's not much left for both Bob Ney and Conrad Burns -- I guess they'll just have to pick one and let the other one go ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 29, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The grown-ups are trying to continue Iraq's ascent to a liberal democracy

It's hard to beat really good satire. Thanks!

Posted by: craigie on April 29, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone have any good ideas to stop the genocide? The usual international intervention so far has been ineffectual.
--Should the US send in some of our spare ground troops from Iraq?
--Pressure the United Nations to send in troops?
--Perhaps we should open America's borders and offer asylum to 2 million people who have been displaced?
--Perhaps we should buy off the killers, offer $300 per head, annually--what's $.6 Billion to the US?
--Send in squadrons of mothers to shout, at the first sign of trouble, "stop that right now! I mean it!" ??

I don't mean to be cynical. What is happening in Darfur is wrenching. All humane impulses want to do something, but, beyond sending relief aid, I don't know what we can do.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't mean to be cynical. What is happening in Darfur is wrenching. All humane impulses want to do something, but, beyond sending relief aid, I don't know what we can do.

I'm sure France will come up with a diplomatic solution.

LOL!

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

The rally in DC doesn't have approval from the UN. Why are the protestors acting without international legitimacy?

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, do you have a definition of "massive" ?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 29, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Al, what could be more hilarious than genocide?

Meanwhile, back to the grownups, did anyone else lose their Wheaties when they saw this leading off today's Times?

'Abuse Concerns Stymie Releases From Guantnamo"
By TIM GOLDEN 3:08 PM ET

which turns out to be about this:

"The release of terror suspects held at Guantnamo Bay has been delayed by concerns that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments."

Oh, the compassion!

Posted by: Kenji on April 29, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Al, what could be more hilarious than genocide?

A barn filled entirely with dead midgets.

Admit it: You laughed.

Posted by: Al on April 29, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

How about a barn filled entirely with everyone you love starving, raped and mutilated?

Did you know that those are actual people over there, not just brown-skinned things to scrape off your shoe? Keep laughing.

Posted by: Kenji on April 29, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji,
You are expressing compassion, indignation and a willingness to fight insensitivity to the suffering in Darfur.

What actions would you recommend we take to stop the genocide?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

As George Clooney, my homeboy delicately said last night on Bill Maher's show (HBO), it's ok to cover Natalie Holloway and yes that's a tragedy, but only to her family.. this genocide on Darfur is not only a crisis but the fact the media is not covering it is beyond comprehension...

OT

Go here and let it be known Limbaugh got off too easily: http://tinyurl.com/pgadz

Posted by: BJ on April 29, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Oh the compassion I see in all these above posts for an entire nation of people being slaughtered :(

http://liberalreason.blogdrive.com

Posted by: BJ on April 29, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody going to answer PTate's question?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

First they came for...(well you fill in the blanks).. So soon after Clinton has flegellated himself for not doing more to speak out and try stop the Rwanda genocide when he dithered with Madame Albright about whether 'acts of genocide' constituted genocide we are in danger of taking the same complacent attitude towards Dafur..

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on April 29, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Again with the question: What action do you propose we take to stop the genocide?

The US military is stretched thin in Iraq. If the solution is a military approach, are you willing to go over to Darfur to protect the people who are being murdered?

Should we topple the Sudanese government? Bribe them?

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 29, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

to PTate's and throsz's question, how about appointing a special envoy to Darfur..someone high-profile like Bill Clinton. It would be a good chance to expiate his regrets for what happened in Rwanda..

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on April 29, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

How about the UN getting off the dime and interceding? The African Union is not cutting it. I am a liberal and have always supported the UN in theory. But in the last 15 years, I seriously could not tell you a thing they have donem -- at a time in world history when they are more needed than ever they have never seemed more useless.

Posted by: Pat on April 29, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji mocks the following: "The release of terror suspects held at Guantnamo Bay has been delayed by concerns that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments."

Somewhat underreported has been the fact that the prisoners at Guantanamo were treated better than most prisoners in most countries: better than Cuba, better than Belgium, certainly better than any predominantly Moslem country. Not just a little better, but much, much better.

Posted by: republicrat on April 29, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

One of the resaons I voiced the appointment of an eloquent and high-profile special envoy it would focus the issue.Stephen Lewis,who I used to work for many years ago, and still hugely admire, has being doing this job as the UN special envoy for Aids to Africa, excoriating the UN and the US amongst other targets..Of course the UN in many important international issues, is in only large as good as its member nations, and the Security Council would have to properly fund it, and support it as they didn't in Rwanda, but someone like a Stephen Lewis or Bil Clinton could keep public pressure on the international players, who would probably like to be spending their foreign and defense department monies elsewhere.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on April 29, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Crickmore: "how about appointing a special envoy to Darfur..someone high-profile like Bill Clinton."

That will raise attention, but not necessarily stop the violence.

But, it is something. It can be #1 on the list.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on April 29, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Better than Belgium?

It seems that Republicans, as a standard fallback position, used to accuse the left of rampant moral relativism. Now it's a central party plank for them. Everything is compared to something else: worse than Hitler, not as bad as the gulag, etc -- or else (my favorite) "Think what they would be doing to us!" It's as if there are NO American standards for basic human behaviour and everything should be justified by some extreme (and extremely malleable) comparison.

All we've seen for the last six years, including that first so-called election, has been squirming -- squirming for position, and squirming to avoid accountability. If the Dems retake the house, we'll have two years of paper-shredding and a sea of indictments for trough-slurping corruption, and Americans will be getting killed in Iraq the whole because there won't be any indictments for lying us into this mess in the first place.

Our military IS stretched too thin. How the hell did that happen? It was clear from the start of this absurd adventure that if a real crisis came up, we would be unprepared to deal with it. And Darfur is a perfect example of that. Iran would be even messier, because our adversaries well know how weak we have made ourselves and that our government exists only to serve the interests of Halliburton and friends, and cannot be counted to follow through on anything, ever, on moral grounds. Also that, when roused, it can be counted on to fail at whatever it sets out to do.

As long as the Rumsfeld-Cheney gang is in charge, we can expect to see all of our institutions gutted while they ruthlessly degrade the global environment -- a fact that will eventually dwarf genocide and preemptive war as a crisis beyond any human sollution. Welcome to Planet Earth, all-Katrinas-all-the-time!

So where do we start with Darfur? Same place we have to start to ever do anything right again: get rid of the assholes who are fucking up our country.

Posted by: Kenji on April 29, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Map of the Great Man's mandate,

http://www.democrats.com/node/8712

Posted by: cld on April 29, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji:

So where do we start with Darfur? Same place we have to start to ever do anything right again: get rid of the assholes who are fucking up our country.

Okay, so let's say all the "assholes" are out of Washington (it would be a ghost town), and your guys are in.

Assume we immediately pull out of Iraq, surrendering in front of all the world to the same kind of people we'd be dealing with in Africa.

Then what will this brilliant new leadership do?

Please come up with something a bit better than unleashing the might of Bill Clinton on them.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 29, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Let me provide our progressive friends a specific proposal for Darfur that is do-able today: we intervene, quietly and effectively, to help the people of Darfur defend themselves.

Consider it an international version of the Second amendment. That should get your blood pumping.

Specifically: a couple of companies of Green Berets, who are skilled at working with local populations. They provide simple arms, radios, ammo, etc., and teach the villagers of Darfur how to defend themselves from the Janjaweed killers.

Back that up with a little air-cover from Chad (a squadron of A-10s on call plus helos) and a battalion of Rangers just over the border ready to come in and help the Green Berets if required.

Quiet. Efficient. Deadly. Teach the people of Darfur to defend themselves. Problem solved.

Posted by: Steve White on April 29, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

What about the Seven Samurai?

Posted by: Kenji on April 30, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White: "Specifically: a couple of companies of Green Berets, who are skilled at working with local populations. They provide simple arms, radios, ammo, etc., and teach the villagers of Darfur how to defend themselves from the Janjaweed killers."

This is the most possible approach I have yet heard. I like it. It has the advantage of being small scale, not outstandingly expensive, and it gives control to the people who need protection rather than "solving" it for them. "Seven Samurai" is right.

Mind you, won't the government of Sudan, who are supplying the Janjaweed killers, object? That's where Bill Clinton comes in, perhaps?

Posted by: Ptate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Sending arms and support to people to defend themselves is not a bad idea, but it has had mixed results in the past, especially in the long term.

And sooner or later, our troops and aircraft will be the ones shooting and being shot at.

How many American troops could die in Africa before it's declared to be not worth it again?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 30, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Do you people understand what we are up against if we commit to helping Africa? If you do, and do not expect much success, then we should try.

Carter, Clinton, Reagan and the Bushes got minimally involved in Africa, even though there have been many situations that cried out for our help, because they understood privately what we are not allowed to say publicly for fear of being labeled racist. Africa is a complete mess. By alkl means, let us help tribe A who is being persecuted by tribe B. Just be prepared for tribe A, once they have become strong again, to go after tribe B with the same kind of ferocity. In Africa, there are few good guys. There are few democrats.

I have spent some time in Nigeria. The country is not corrupt in the way we understand the word, because corruption implies exceptional behavior. In Nigeria EVERYONE is on the take. You have to pay someone to buy an air ticket. You might be stopped and detained on the way to the airport by a policeman demanding a bribe, you have to pay someone just to get on the plane, etc., etc.

If U.S. forces get involved deeply in Africa, the most likely scenario is they will get bogged down in a vast swamp, beset by multiple warring factions. It is an unfortunate and heart wrenching situation, but the governments of Africa care little if thousands of children die. If they can, they will loot every dollar that might be spent on aid. And if the suffering people should get well and get some power, they will join in the looting themselves.

As much as I wish it were otherwise, there is damn little we can actually do to help Africa. Still, we must try, as long as we understand that the most likely outcome is failure and the blame that will inevitably follow. True leadership goes ahead and does the right thing, even though the prospects for success are small.

I Loved your post on moral relativism, by the way, Kenji

Posted by: James of DC on April 30, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: "Sending arms and support to people to defend themselves is not a bad idea, but it has had mixed results in the past, especially in the long term."

Oh, d**n, that's true. Osama bin Ladin was our friend once, to name one example. So there's a downside to Steve White's proposal.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 30, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

abandoning the misadventure in iraq for humanitarian aid in darfur has many advantages. for starters, we may actually have some level of moral authority to intervene this conflict, as the US isn't directly resposnible for arming the combatants.

secondly, the lack of american oil interests, and a deference to international agencies to prevent the halliburton-type war profiteering we've enabled in iraq, will further engender international goodwill and cooperation. countries unwilling to support american imperialism in the mideast might be more willing to get involved in a more obviously humanitarian mission.

particularly if the current cabal of american war criminals wasn't in charge of it.

Posted by: Nads on April 30, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for drawing attention to Darfur!!!

I am in Europe and can't attend the Darfur rallies across the U.S. on April 30th. Therefore I have organized an online rally for Darfur together with many other German Bloggers.

I blog for the Atlantic Review, a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni.

Posted by: Joerg on April 30, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Any war that lasts more than 78 days is a "misadventure" to a liberal. Just give up. Democracy isn't worth it. Oil isn't worth it. Nothing is worth it. Throw Israel to the wolves and let's just live in peace and prosperity, drive a Prius, eat Ben & Jerry sin food, and watch the synthetic excitement of celebrities playing tournament Texas Hold'em.

Rome sure had an immigration problem two millenia back. Anybody with any sense would want to live in a city where you could get bread, circuses, and a hot bath every day for free. Out in the countryside life was very boring and drearily hardscrabble compared to that.

The birth rate of "native" Romans dropped below the replacement rate due to skilled abortionists and the growing unpopularity of marriage. Eventually, all the barbarians would be forced to take over and run things for themselves, which didn't work too hot for quite a few centuries, but did result in a great age for religion. Maybe that's why God allows all this history to recycle in our times.

Posted by: Mike Cook on April 30, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Let's cut through the crap:

--Should we go to war over Darfur? And believe me, if war happens, it's going to be the U.S. carrying the load.

--Will this include any regime changes?

--If we do go to war, how many Americans can die before it becomes a "quagmire?"

Posted by: tbrosz on April 30, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid PTate and Freely are right. Being concerned about Darfur and holding rallies for its people isn't the same as having a clear plan. I sometimes think people just want to be seen as "caring" and "doing something -- anything!" about a Darfur-like situation, and less concerned with the details of what would actually work. Some people also seem quite concerned with appearing morally superior to others who express skepticism that any amount of money or outside help can positively affect Darfur.

Posted by: Ergon Freely on April 30, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dfsfsd on April 30, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the UN has cut relief aid to Darfur:

"Haven't the people of Darfur suffered enough? We are adding insult to injury," Mr Morris said as he explained that despite appeals to donors, the WFP has received only a third of the money it needs."

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 1, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

PTate..I couldn't pick up the link...but it appears that donor fatique has set it..This is slightly more encouraging news on Darfur. I suppose in the final analysis, partly because of western indifference and fatigue, it will be "Africa for the Africans" as was often heard in what was then Rhodesia, in the 60's during their rebellion.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on May 1, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

This is a test.

This is a test.

Posted by: test on May 2, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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